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Realization of Cultural Potential of Traditional Music of Kryashen Tatars

Ahmetova LA* and Nurgayanova NK

Kazan Federal University, Russian Federation.

*Corresponding Author:
Lidiya Alekseevna Ahmetova
Kazan Federal University, 420008
Kazan, Kremlyovskaya Str.
18 Russian Federation
Tel: 7 843 233-71-09

Received Date: May 06, 2016; Accepted Date: June 23, 2016; Published Date: June 27, 2016

Citation: Ahmetova LA, Nurgayanova NK. Realization of Cultural Potential of Traditional Music of Kryashen Tatars. Global Media Journal. 2016, S3: 05

Copyright: © 2016 Ahmetova LA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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An integral component of the overall system of musical culture of the Tatar people is the original formation of the traditional art of the local ethnic group tatar-kryashens (baptized tatars). Musical creativity of tatar-kryashens dedicated to a number of studies, however, its place and role in the culture and education of the XXI century revealed inadequate. This publication deals with authentic and modern interpretations of holiday culture forms and genres of folk music in the modern educational space. In order to preserve and promote the cultural and historical heritage of the Tatar people, namely, the mother tongue, native festivals and rituals, folk song and dance traditions, costumes and old musical instruments, on the basis of the Graduate School of Arts named Salih Saydashev of Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication of Kazan Federal University was established student folklore ensemble "Salam", a significant place in the work which takes folk music of tatar-kryashens. Participation in the collective folk scenic contributes to the solution of specific problems in the teaching process of training the future concert artist and teacher-musician-specialists who are able to maintain and promote Ethnomusical tradition. Based on the foregoing, it follows the need for the widest possible implementation of the rich spiritual and artistic potential of ethno-cultural traditions in extracurricular activities of educational institutions of all types and levels.


Ethnic musical traditions; Local ethnos; Kryashen Tatars; Multicultural education


Bright and deeply meaningful creative phenomenon represents national creativity of the Volga Tatars in which original layers of local ethnic groups are emitted (Kazan Tatars, Mishar Tatars, Kryashen Tatars, etc.). One of them is the traditional musical culture of Kryashen Tatars, which, being integral from the general system of traditional Tatar music, at the same time, represents its original branch keeping in modern conditions inextricable connection with the most ancient sound relics, archaic ritualism of the Volga region people [1].

The researches of historians and ethnographers, specialists in folklore, ethnomusicians and art critics of the past and the present are devoted to spiritual and material culture, musical creativity of Tatar people: Almeeva [2], Iskhakov [3], Iskhakova- Vamba [4], Makarov [5], Nigmedzyano[6], Safiullina [7], Nurgayanova[8], etc. However, the character of an existing of these traditions local ethnic of Kryashen Tatars in the conditions of modern globalization process with the great importance of the problems of ethnic identity’s preservation is still insufficiently revealed. In this context the relevance of definition of their place and role in the culture of the 21st century is unconditional.

At the same time to ensure the future sustainability of folk heritage can not only authentic, but also in tune with the spiritual needs of the present, reproductions of ancient rites, customs and performing versions of traditional tunes, which (of course, without losing the inherent native characteristics) is to appeal to new generations.

In the current cultural and educational process of the musical traditions of portrayed as authentic forms of folk art; they are the subject of the research activities; implemented in the concert repertoire of folk practice of professional and folk groups, composing creativity, musical enlightenment, churchsinging practice, the system of general and special musical education.

Of these directions in this publication, we distinguish the authentic song genres of folk music, which is primarily based on the whole musical culture of and disclosure of contemporary forms of artistic continuity, moral-aesthetic and pedagogical potential of these traditions in the contemporary musical creativity, performing and education.

The collective nature of performance based on various forms of polyphony, including the earliest of them - a heterophony, differs Orthodox Tatars’ ethnic singing traditions from the Muslim Tatars’ musical intellection [9]. Performance of these tunes which are close to the most ancient, arisen at earliest historical stages, to archaic type of the Euroasian ceremonial melodics, is characterized by intense sound energy. In some settlements during the holidays they are sung collectively by hundreds of performers, and powerful choral sounding is heard at a distance up to several kilometers.

A complex of ritual tunes, inseparable from branchy festive and ceremonial system of a pagan origin, which during early eras was connected with a hunting and shepherd life, and later – with a calendar and agrarian cycle and labor activity, takes a special place in musical creativity. Nowadays, ancient ceremonies and festivals, keeping their initial functions in a certain degree, gradually turn into a considerable component of modern national festive culture, getting the dramatized orientation.

In ritualism system of an important place also belongs to the instrumental music. The wide existing of such musical instruments, as dumbyra - the two-stringed instrument, kylkubyz-a type of a national violin, garmun - an accordion (a talyanka, a two-row, a khromka), dumber-a drum in the Kryashen villages is recorded. Purposeful expeditions led to detection of extensive layer of the art of playing kurai - a wind instrument like a longitudinal flute [10]. On the whole, the instruments coincide with the instruments of all Tatars, but the important place belongs to gusli that is less characteristically for other ethnic groups of the Tatar people.

Folklore expedition authors on Kryashen villages of Republic of Tatarstan, as well as research of scientists like Almeeva [11], Dunayeva et al. have shown that The musical folklore continues to occur in the national environment. Calendar singing keeps the value as the act of communication of people with the nature, wedding and guest tunes still remain means of a spiritual unification and strengthening of integrity of a rural community. In the majority of the Kryashen villages the ancient holidays are regularly spent since the 80s of the 20th century. The most important of them turn into the actions coming to interregional and even the All-Russian level. Today they mainly have secular ethno-cultural character, turning into festivals of national creativity.

Research Methodology

In this study the authors used various research methods: System and structural analysis of cultural, musicological, folklore and educational researches; generalization of the own and advanced pedagogical experience within the framework of the problem researched. Let’s consider the content of the existing traditional musical culture of an ethnic group of Tatars - the Kryashens.

The Basic Part

Let’s consider the content of the existing traditional musical culture of an ethnic group of Tatars - the Kryashens.

The festive annual cycle

Folk songs are an important part of the folklore of . Today they can be heard during playback or rituals and festive effect. We characterize the most significant of them.

The festive annual cycle of the was created on the basis of the most ancient pagan and the Christian Orthodox traditions. To this day with an arrival of rooks in the Kryashen villages the Karga botkasi - a festival of rooky porridge is celebrated when the ritual porridge is cooked for both people, and birds. All this is accompanied with the same name, to the name of the action, tune. Thus, opens the sequence of the spring holidays and ceremonies which have almost lost their initial magical and practical functions, but being a reason for youth merrymakings where possible to hear accordions and violins, boys and girls sing songs and reel the roundelay. Among the various game customs of a springtime the ceremony denoting the beginning of sowing is especially distinguished-“shailik”- which consists of public praying (sanctification of seeds), collective entertainment, ritual ploughing and plowing of a special cycle of tunes –“ soran koilari” - plowed land songs [12].

One of the interesting Kryashen female holidays is “mai tawi” - the May mountain, or “mai bashi” - the beginning of May. This day (on the 1st of May according to the old style calendar) all the females of the settlement go to one of the nearest hills where, after a collective entertainment, they play games, sing and dance.

One of the composite national Tatar holidays is “Sabantuy”. Initially, in the nomadic times, the holiday was connected with the period of spring blossoming, it gradually turned into an agricultural holiday – the holiday of a plow celebrated after the end of sowing. saved its early forms with special songs. Moreover, during Sabantuy all the complex of traditional festive music is used.

The festivals devoted to maturing of flowers and berries are carried out in summer. All of them are also accompanied by roundelays, songs and dances. The ceremony of calling the rain with the tune “Yangir telaw” – “A rain spell” is still actual.

Time of a winter solstice in a national calendar of the is noted by festive ritual called “Nardugan” (from Turkic – “the born sun”), relating to a fertility cult. It includes merrymakings, songs accompanied by a harmonica, dances. Special songs are devoted to “Nardugan”, as, for example, "The evening gatherings in Nardugan").

Annually in the Kryashen settlements Christmas is celebrated, when it is accepted to go from house to house with praying and singing, glorifying Christ's birth. At the same time the pagan rituals are carried out, such as, divination on rings.

Some Kryashen Tatars’ holidays are closely bound with ancient Russian customs. One of such ancient holidays is “Maslenitsa” when the whole week in the end of the winter the pancakes are baked, as a symbol of the sun, the fires are kindled, and people are sledding. All these actions are accompanied by the Pancake week songs.

Perhaps, mostly esteemed holiday for The Kryashens is Easter – Great day. This day the youth goes outside to play games, old men visit each other, arranging feast. During the whole week songs and harmonica folk tunes don't cease in villages. The visit of the temples and church services is an important part in celebration of Easter. The most widespread Easter ritual is children’s going from house to house and singing Easter troparion ("to Glorify", "To sing Easter"). In general, this day the special tunes connecting specifics of church singing and a traditional folk music are performed [13]. One of them is “The father of heaven”.

A number of traditional festivals of the Kryashens is based on Christianity and paganism interaction, in the fullness of time some ancient ceremonial actions were reoriented and combined in time with the Trinity, the Semik, Peter’s Day, etc. [14]. Trinity or Foliage holiday and Semik, or Green Week is one of the most popular holidays the Kryashen Tatars have. On the Semik the youth goes to the wood where decorates a birch and plays games, sings songs near it, and then, with the decorated tree brought from the wood, singing and dancing marches through the village. Certain rituals accompany Peter’s Day, this is the time of an acquaintances of young people for the purpose of family creation. This holiday is devoted to the summer and accompanied by magical rituals – sacrifice (stabbing a sheep), carrying out merrymakings and roundelays.

The tunes of the listed above festive actions can be heard today in reproduction of the ceremonies kept as live tradition.

Song creativity

Song creativity represents the most significant phenomenon of traditional culture of the Kryashens. One of the most characteristic works of musical and poetic creativity of the still labor tunes, as mutual aid is of great importance now, when joint labor actions come to the end with the general festival. During the collective works they sing songs about labor, moral qualities of the person, love, friendship, the native land. After work dances and games are held. These songs are called – the tunes of aid.

A very important place in life of the Kryashens always was taken by family and ceremonial tunes. At the beginning of the educational process pestushki are used. They are rather precise according to the eurhythmics, are performed at a dynamic tempo and are said as a tongue-twister rather than sung. During the folklore expedition of 2014 in the Staroe Tyaberdino village of Kaybitsky district of Tatarstan authors were recorded samples of this type of folk art, including a sample of interest pestushki "Baby bath", executed in the first bathing the baby in the bath. Grandmother, patting the baby birch broom, wants him to grow strong as a bear, be a toothed like a wolf, resourceful as a fox and quick like a hare. In the future, the tunes accompanying a growing of a child, get the developed song structure and a melodics, as song lullabies. Also children are entertained by singing the songs connected with images of insects, birds and animals: a spider, a crow, a woodpecker [15].

The tunes of relatives, wedding and guest songs belong to family ritual folklore of the Kryashen Tatars.

Visitality usually occurs during the autumn and winter period and turn into bright musical actions, the apogee of communal singing. The guest ritual has a certain scenario (a meeting, taking-away the dishes, mutual greetings, farewell) and is accompanied by laudatory and thanksgiving dialogical chants between guests and master of the house. Songs of praise are devoted to certain participants of the celebration. The main subject of guest songs is expression of friendship, honoring of the family relations, philosophical reflection about life, glorification of the native land. During visitality they also sing reprobating songs deriding such human sins as miserliness, alcoholism, unwillingness and inability to work. In each group of villages still remains the circle of melodic types of guest songs called.

The wedding ceremony of the Kryashens is saturated with music. The investigator G. Akhmarov was one of the first who described in the beginning of the 20th century various wedding rituals of the Kryashens, noted as similar to traditions of the neighboring people – Chuvashs, Mordvins and Udmurts [16]. Each stage of the complex wedding rituals is accompanied by the appropriate tunes: songs “on withdrawal of the bride from the parental home”, crying of the bride, etc. The feast itself turns into song competition of becoming related families, sui generis “wedding dialogues”. They are united in a cycle called wedding songs. Also the admonitions for the couple and an exchange of the complements between two parties of relatives sound in a song form.

The Kryashens’ funeral ceremony and “parental days” provide joint singing of the tunes accompanying the rituals, in which the mixture of pagan and Christian canons is noted. The texts of chants include words of farewell with deceased, pronouncing good wishes, philosophical reflections about rapidity of life, as in a tune “Life Passed”.

Conjuring songs are connected with different ceremonial situations in the culture of the Kryashens, that had arisen on the basis of deep belief in numerous deities and spirits - the protector of water, the patroness of the house, etc. Such tunes are subdivided into protecting (which are sung for protection from evil spirit) and good-wishing (which are sung to provide prosperity and wellbeing).

As a whole, in songs of the Kryashen Tatars, peculiar in their forms, and being different with the big melodic wealth, reflected patriotism, deep lyrical feelings, wit and optimism, courage and firmness of the people.

The studying of a current state and prospects of functioning of the Kryashen Tatars’ ethno-musical traditions in cultural and educational, and teaching and educational process is carried out on the example of the Kaybitsky municipal region of the Republic of Tatarstan during folklore expeditions of the authors of the article. Since olden times here have been living molkeevsk Kryashens – very numerous subethnic subgroup which originality is defined by deep cultural interrelations with the neighboring Chuvash ethnos, the main thing is an existence in folklore traditions of the especially strongly expressed pagan component [17]. In these regions so far almost in each rural settlement there are special places for carrying out ceremonial actions, festivals and sacrifices – "kiremeti". It is possible to hear unique archaic tunes here [11]. In each village there are musicians who play the accordion, the kuray, masters of playing the kubiz, the gusli and other traditional musical instruments.

There are regularly held regional folklore and song festivals and competitions in the Kaybitsk region with the support of professional musicians, as, for example, A Christmas star). They are urged to keep and propagandize the best models of musical creativity of the Kryashen Tatars, to reveal original performers.

The purpose of forwarding the work carried out in 2014-2015 years was study the functioning and preservation of folk song genres, traditional musical instruments in the context of modern culture and education. Meetings were held with ethnophors that keep ethnic traditions, with folk band "Saudiyar" and students from Staroe Tyaberdino village of Kaybitsky district, as well as with authentic guslyars of Verhniy Subash village of Baltasinsky district of Tatarstan.


1. The results showed that at the moment the musical material of stored in the memory of carrier of traditions in the almost complete absence of ritual practice, and revealed the existence of basic vocal genres - family ritual and calendar chants. During the work it was found in the inclusion of traditional singing, along with the old-timer of generations that were born in the 60-80s. The survey showed that the representatives of different age groups possess the traditional repertoire as a guest, and calendar. Particularly it should be noted that the performance of songs embodied in the characteristic close to the ideal of sound, timbre ritual of required of the singers sound saturation, respiration latitude, penetrating performance, specific color of instrumental voice that speaks of preserving the historical traditional tonal thinking.

2. Among the musical instruments of gusli occupy a special place. Traditions performance on the gusli passed through the female line, from mother to daughter, from the older to the younger sister, etc. Alekseeva Zoya Nikolaevna is the resident of Verhniy Subash village of Baltasinsky district, born in 1933. She showed us the game on this popular musical instrument. She performed on the gusli several folk melodies of and showed different features of the two instruments sound - ancient and modern.

3. From conversations with representatives of the local ethnic groups, it was found that the beneficial effects on the conservation and further development of the musical culture of Kryashen Tatars at present has a functioning folk folklore groups, studying, collecting and performing songs, music and dance tunes of his village. Such folklore ensembles uniting children and adults, there are almost all the places of compact living of Kryashen Tatars.

4. For preservation, revival and promotion of cultural and historical heritage of the Tatar people, namely, the native language, primordial holidays and rituals, national song and dancing traditions, suits and ancient musical instruments on the basis of the Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication of the Kazan federal university in 2006 the student's folklore “Salam” ensemble was formed. For the authors, this team is a creative laboratory, which allows to save and implement of ethnomusical tradition of Kryashen Tatars for future generations, as well as on the basis of folk music to improve the forms and methods of work with future teachers, musicians - advocates traditional culture.


The collective deeply and consistently studies and reconstructs customs and ceremonies, the archaic layers of traditional Tatar musical culture having limited prevalence in active, natural forms of an existing. As a result of hard work some traditional tunes of Kryashen acquire a "second life". The basis of repertoire of “Salam” folklore ensemble is made by the national songs collected in ethnographic expeditions in various regions of Russia. As a result of these expeditions there appeared a lot of valuable material, by leaning which it is possible to solve problems of studying and preservation of the traditional national culture. Among the creative interests of ensemble there is the Kryashen Tatars’ ethno-musical folklore. Thanks to the huge collecting work the repertoire of ensemble included unique samples of musical folklore of the Kryashens: “Moon face Bibi”, “The May song”, “The song of recruits”, “Kurbash's Tune”, “A guest tune”, etc., represented in traditional, close to authentic, manner of singing. Results of research work found reflection in the collection of national songs from “Salam” ensemble repertoire with the corresponding comments and practical recommendations about each work [18].

The study traditional music of rationale for its full application in modern performing arts and music education.

On the basis of assimilation of folk music traditions of as an integral part of the world's musical heritage, it is the development of the necessary set of knowledge, skills of singing and performing skills, the formation of personal qualities of students - the future teachers of music. Learning of folk songs, familiarity with the sounds of traditional musical instruments of their region contributes to the formation of tolerance, the successful further adaptation of youth in today's society.

Successful performances of “Salam” ensemble helps with its main mission - the training of specialists, able to keep and propagandize folklore traditions. According to Karkina, under the conditions of contemporary reality development of a cultures’ concept is inextricably connected with predominant tendencies of education in the humanities, such as tolerant interaction of an individual with the other cultures and cultures with each other [19].

The special role in promotion of a folk music, in a demonstration of ancient rituals and games was allocated for “Salam” ensemble during the 27th Summer Universiade in 2013 in Kazan. The concert venue in the form of the rural street was simulated in the “Universiade Village” where the attributes of a traditional life, arts and crafts of Tatars, and their musical instruments were presented. According to Fakhrutdinova students participation in such actions contribute Formation of general cultural competencies [20]. According to Valiahmetova: “In this process the musical art is an effective educational instrument in the “genetic code” of which the whole range of emotions, feelings and experiences of the people, its mentality, values, and best spiritual qualities is reflected” [21]. From here follows the necessity of the richest spiritual and art potential’s most widespread introduction of ethno-cultural traditions in out-of-class activity in educational institutions of different types and levels [22].


Traditional music continues to prevail among the people, mainly as a component of family rites, national and religious holidays. At the same time actively introducing modern culture folklore student and children's groups etnotraditsy demonstrating its efficiency.

However, to improve viewers' interest in authentic folklore is necessary to search form his stage incarnation. The desire to preserve folk music traditions in the memory of future generations leads to new creativity and arrangements of ancient melodies with the inclusion of elements of youth music culture, respectively, while respecting the principle of priority, respect for the originals, but with the conditions of the concert stage and perception of the modern listener. For example, in comparison with the authentic versions may complication of polyphonic texture and saturation of harmony, because folk songs will be translated into new images.

Musical traditions of are used in the training of music teachers. Introducing future specialists with the traditional culture, works of folk art in the future will provide an opportunity for conservation through the general music education, which will contribute to the development of the principles of the national musical performance, increase knowledge in the field of folk music of the region, the formation of respect for the artistic traditions and its neighboring nations.

Thus, in this context, we can conclude about the prospects of the operation in the cultural and educational space of the present time not only authentic, but congruent with the spiritual needs of the new generations, forms of reproduction of ancient rites, customs and performing versions of traditional tunes.

The relevance of a problem is enhanced because in any region of modern Russia practically all educational institutions are characterized by the multietnic, multicultural and multiconfessional contingent of the learners, favorable conditions for cross-cultural communication have to be created there. At the solution of this difficult problem acquaintance with ethno-musical traditions can play a beneficial role. It will allow the pupils, learners and students to

broaden their outlook, to develop respect and love to these traditions, to learn moral and esthetic ideals of their nation, and of other nationalities.


The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.


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